Eid ul Adha, which was celebrated by South African Muslims on Wednesday, is the second Eid in the Islamic calendar, held on the 10th day of the last month, Dhul Hijja, of the Islamic year.
It is also known as the Hajj Eid, as it marks the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the five pillars of Islam that each Muslim should attempt to make during his or her lifetime, if s/he can afford it.
The first Eid in the Islamic calendar, Eid ul Fitr, is held two months and 10 days earlier to celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Eid ul Adha centres on sacrifice to God. It commemorates God asking the prophet Abraham, or Ibraheem as it is pronounced in Arabic, to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, or Isma’eel. When Ibraheem showed himself willing to do this, his sacrifice was fulfilled and God sent him an animal to slaughter instead.
Muslims emulate this sacrifice by slaughtering sheep or goats on Eid, or within three days after. It is a symbolic act of learning the value of self-denial by sacrificing a living animal.